First Reading: Acts 18:23-28; Psalm: 47. R. v. 2b; Gospel: Jn 16:23b-28
PRAYING IN GOD’S NAME
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
Name is synonymous to identity. It is a representation of a person. It co-exists with our personhood such that even when we are absent and our names are mentioned, our presence is clearly pictured. This also implies that our names are affected in whatever we do or in whatever is connected to our name. Imagine if someone stole our personal information to commit fraud or a vicious crime. The culprit can easily evade prosecution as the crime can be traced back to the identity of the one whose name reflects on the crime report. Put succinctly, what is done in our name affects us and can truly or falsely reflects who we are.
Jesus said “Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father, he will give it to you in my name” (Jn 16:23b). In this passage of today’s gospel, each time Jesus mentioned ‘asking’, he always added “in my name”. Jesus was simply saying to us that when we pray and ask of anything, it should be in his name. And that if his Father would grant any of our requests, it has to be granted in his name too. So although Jesus promised to grant anything we ask of the Father; but we should not forget that he added that these requests shall be granted in his name. And since the Father loves the Son and knows what is best for us, he will never grant any of our requests that will bring disrepute to Jesus’ name.
When we pray, we customarily begin and end our prayers in God’s name. Like ‘the sign of the cross’, ‘in Jesus name’, ‘through Christ our Lord’ and so on. What we are actually doing is using God’s name to make a request. So, do we think that God would grant whatever request made in his name? Because sometimes we pray selfishly. There are Christians who kneel and pray that God should destroy their enemies who happen to be a neighbour or an acquaintance. Do we really think God will grant that? Listen! God knows what is best for us. We ask but God answers. Whatever is good for us and our neighbour is what God grants. God will not grant any request that will bring dishonour to his name. His name is Holy.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, help us to respect the sanctity of your name when we pray. Amen.